Had it not been for a hacker, Half-Life 2 would have been much darker and more gothic.

Since it went on sale, Half-Life 2 has become not only a cult game, but also an icon of PC gaming that has left an indelible mark on several generations of gamers. All of us who have played have a very specific idea of ​​what it is like, but did you know that could have been very different? And it is that Half-Life 2 was rethought after an event that gave Valve a lot of headaches: the leak of his “beta”.

known as Half-Life 2 Beta, Half-Life 2 Alpha or Half-Life 2 Leakthe original version of this modern classic was one of the largest leaks that have ever occurred in the history of video games. Covering various phases of the game’s development, he let us see the plans that the North American company had for its title, and ended up making them change radically. In the past, I’ve talked about what happened and its consequences for Valve, but today I want us to dig a little deeper into this topic. We’ll see What would Half-Life 2 have been like? if it hadn’t leaked and started a domino effect that would change it forever.

A much darker Half-Life 2

If you think about it, Valve’s classic is actually a pretty dodgy game. Humanity has been completely colonized and its citizens are being turned into automaton soldiers for the Combine while the planet’s resources are plundered. Well, despite that, the game maintains a presentation that flees from the grimdark, But it was not always like this.

The Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar book, along with other leaked files, let us see that the Combine would have been much more aggressive: in addition to draining the seas to undermine the entire planet, they would have launched toxic gases into the atmosphere. The world of the original Half-Life 2 had been absolutely devastated by the alien invasion.

Image Half Life 2 2

This was City 17.

Borealis, the research vessel that could hold the key to the human revolution was also featured in this title, though the implications of fighting there are unknown. On the other hand, City 17 was quite a bit darker and great. With a setting that was more gothic, it was also full of skyscrapers and large buildings, instead of going for an aesthetic more similar to that of East Germany after the fall of communism.

On the other hand, some characters underwent great changes. Eli Vance and Alyx Vance They were not always relatives, the surname being an addition to this new version. On the other hand, Dr. Breen was not present in the original version of Half-Life 2 either, but rather his role exercised by the Consula more radical version of Breen who used Combine technology to make himself immortal and leave his humanity behind.

Half Life 2 Image

Alyx was very different in this version.

The enemies we will never see

the antagonists of this lost Half-Life 2 were also very different, and many of them were lost forever. There remains documentation to talk about 8 main ones, which included not only Combine forces, but also aliens and mutants:

  • The Combine assassina type of special soldier resembling the special ops members from Half-Life 1.
  • He Combota flying robot equipped with a flamethrower that evolved to become the Urban Scanner.
  • He Alien Killera kind of humanoid ninja.
  • He bullsquid, which returns from the first Half-Life, albeit with a reddish hue. You would find it around the canals of City 17.
  • He houndeye, also similar to his appearance in Half-Life. Of course, this new version was going to hunt in a pack.
  • He crematoralso known as the Janitor of the Combine, was going to be in charge of burning the corpses that were around City 17.
  • The hydrawhich was even seen in the E3 2003 trailer.
  • He Combine Wardena human transformed into combine with a huge weapon.

Half-Life: Alyx expands with the premiere of LEVITATION, its most ambitious free mod with original story

As you can see, there was a lot more emphasis on drawing parallels with the prequel than in the final version, which decided to be more original and differentiate the events of Black Mesa from what happens in City 17.

What happened to all this stuff?

There are fragments of this beta throughout the saga

If you’re thinking that it’s a shame that all these items have been thrown away, don’t worry! We’ve been seeing the pieces of this leak in Valve games for years. From Half-Life 2 itself to its episodes and even Half-Life: Alyx, many elements have been recycled to put them to use. Some are cooler the head of a cremator in Half-Life 2, while others are not as impressive, such as recycling doors from the Borealis for use in other spaces in the game.

Is the Half-Life 2 beta playable?

The answer to this question is more complicated than it seems. If you want something fast, I’ll tell you no. The leaked data gives us an idea of ​​what’s going on at Valve, but it’s not a whole game you can enjoy. This has not stopped the modding communitywhich stars in the less rapid part of my answer.

For years, several projects have sought to rescue the original version of Half-Life 2 through mods. The most famous project of all these is called Missing Information, and it has its own Steam page, although it hasn’t been released yet. Raising the Bar Redux, on the other hand, can be downloaded right now, as well as Cremation, which seeks recreate above all the aesthetics and the feeling from the original game. Lastly, you also have Dark Interval, which is a little more liberal with his interpretation, but it is also worth it.

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